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Student Profiles- Millie Embree
7th year DMSTP student

Undergraduate Institution
College of Charleston
BS Biochemistry
BA Chemistry
magna cum laude

The Role of ECM Proteoglycans in Regulating Chondrogenesis and Condylar Cartilage Degradation in Temporomandibular Joint Osteoarthritis
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a unique and complex structure that is critical for our ability to chew, swallow, and speak. TMJ osteoarthritis (TMJ OA) is the most severe and debilitating TMJ disorder, causing extreme pain, permanent tissue loss and joint dysfunction. The extracellular matrix (ECM) micro-environment plays a critical role in the maintenance of cartilage tissue integrity by regulating the activity of chondrocytes, the cells that reside within the TMJ cartilage tissue. Mice deficient in the ECM proteoglycans biglycan (Bgn) and fibromodulin (Fmod) acquire TMJ OA pathology. Our project involves understanding the role of Bgn and Fmod in regulating chondrogenesis and cartilage degradation in the TMJ. Specifically, we are interested in TGF-β1 and ECM interactions during TMJ OA pathology. Overall, our goal is to discover new insights about the underlying cellular mechanisms contributing to the TMJ demise in this animal model.

Mentor and Department
Dr. Marian Young, PhD
Craniofacial and Skeletal Diseases Branch

Abstracts/Meeting Presentations
Embree, M., Bi, Y., Kilts, T., Syed-Picard, F, Karsdal, M. , and Young, M., Extracellular matrix proteoglycans regulate condylar chondrocyte activity, Oral Presentation, International Association for Dental Research 86th General Session, Toronto, Canada, July, 2, 2008.

Embree, M., Bi, Y. Kilts, T., Karsdal, M., Young, M., Toward understanding the role of extracellular matrix proteoglycans in temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis, Oral Presentation, MUSC Perry Halushka Student Research Day, Charleston, SC, Sept 9, 2007.

Embree, M., Bi, Y., Kilts, T., and Young, M., Altered chondrogenesis in the absence of bgn and fmod, Poster Presentation, Cartilage Biology and Pathology Gordon Research Conference, Ventura Beach, CA, 2007. Embree, M., Bi, Y., Inkson, C., Kilts, T., and Young, M., TMJ chondrocytes isolated from Biglycan/Fibromodulin double-deficient mice have altered proliferation and differentiation in vitro, Oral Presentation, The Fourth Scientific Meeting of The TMJ Association, Bethesda, MD, 2006.

Embree, M., Bi, Y., Wadhwa, S., Ameye, L., Wimer, H., Li, L., Young, M., Altered TGF-beta function in temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis, Oral Presentation, American Association for Dental Research Meeting & Exhibtion, Orlando, FL, Mar 8, 2006.

Embree, M., Wadhwa, S., Ameye, L., Young, M. ,The biglycan/fibromodulin double knockout mice develop accelerated temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis, Oral Presentation, International Association for Dental Research/American Association for Dental Research 83rd General Session, Baltimore, MD, Mar 12, 2005.

Embree, M., Wadhwa, S., Young, M., Potential role of small proteoglycans in craniofacial development, Poster Presentation, Craniofacial Morphogenesis and Tissue Regeneration Gordon Research Conference, Ventura, CA, 2004.

Embree, M., Wadhwa, S., Young, M., Biglycan and decorin: potential roles in suture morphology and craniofacial development. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Summer Student Poster Session, Bethesda, MD, August 1, 2003.

Embree, M., Grant, S., Downs, J., Bear, J., Choi, E., Sahn, J., Overby, J., Beam, C., The preparation of N-H Pyrazoles from dilithiated carbo-tert-butoxyhydrazones and aromatic esters." Oral Presentation, South Carolina Academy of Science, Annual Meeting, Conway, SC, April 6, 2001.


Goldberg, M., Ono, M., Septier, D., Bonfoix, M., Kilts, T., Bi, Y., Embree, M., Young, M., Fibromodulin-deficient mice reveal dual functions for fibromodulin in regulating dental tissue and alveolar bone formation, CellsTissuesOrgans, 2009; 189: 198-202.

Bi, Y., Ehirchiou, D., Kilts T., Inkson, C., Embree, M., Sonoyama, W., Li, L., Leet. A., Seo, B., Zhang, L., Shi, S., Young, M., Identification of tendon stem/progenitor cells and the role of the extracellular matrix in their niche. Nature Medicine, 2007; 10; 1219-27.

Wadhwa, S., Bi, Y., Ortiz, A., Embree, M., Kilts, T., Iozzo, R., Opperman, L., Young, M., Impaired posterior frontal suture fusing in the biglycan/decorin double deficient mice. Bone. 2007; Apr;40(4):861-6.

Wadhwa, S., Embree, M., Ameye, L., Young, M., Mice deficient in biglycan and fibromodulin as a model for temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis. CellsTissuesOrgans, 2005; 181(3-4); 136-43.

Wadhwa, S. Embree, M., Kilts, T., Young, M., Ameye, L.. Accelerated osteoarthritis in the temporomandibular joint of biglycan/fibromodulin double-deficient mice. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 2005; 9; 817-27.

Wadhwa, S., Embree, M., Bi, Y., Young, M., The regulation, regulatory activities, and function of biglycan, Critical Reviews in Eukaryotic Gene Exp, 2004; 14(4): 301-15.

Grant, S., Embree, M., Downs, J., Townsend, J., Hornsby, C. Beam, C., Preparation of alkyl 4, 5-dihydro-2H-benz[g]indazole-2-carboxylates and methyl 4,5-Dihydro-2H-benz[e]indazole-2-carboxylates from dilithiated 1-tetralone or 2-tetralone carboalkoxyhydrazones and aromatic Esters, Indust. & Eng. Chem. Res., 2003, 5721-5726.

Townsend, J., Pastine, S., Schady, D., Greer, H., Kelley, W., Embree, M., Downs, J., Beam, C., Preparation of 1H-pyrazole-5-carboxamides from dilithiated C, N-Phenylhydrazones and lithiated ethyl xxanilates or lithiated ethyl xxamate, J. Heterocyclic Chem., 2001, 691-694.

Honors and Awards

Invited Chairperson for TMJ Development, Pathology, Properties, and Imaging Session, International Association for Dental Research 86th General Session & Exhibition, Toronto, Canada, 2008

AADR Bloc Travel Grant, American Association for Dental Research, Toronto, Canada 2008

Eric B. James Award, 1st Place Oral Presentation PhD VI Session, MUSC Student Research Day, Charleston, SC 2007

TMJ Association Travel Grant for best abstract, TMJ Association of America, Bethesda, MD, 2006

American Society for Dental Research Annual Dental Student Research Conference Invited Speaker, Bethesda, MD 2004

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Summer Dental Student Award 2003

Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine Class Executive Board Member 2002

Chemistry and Biochemistry Departmental Honors, College of Charleston 2002

Honors College Graduate College of Charleston 2002

American Institute of Chemists Foundation Award 2002

Outstanding Senior in Biochemistry, College of Charleston 2002

South Carolina Hope Scholar 2000-2002

Dean’s List, College of Charleston 1998-2002

Highly Distinguished Faculty Honors, College of Charleston 1998-2002

Malone Memorial Scholar Award, College of Charleston 1998-2002

Professional Organizations

American Student Dental Association
American Association for Women Dentists
American Chemical Society
Phi Sigma Phi Honor Society


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